Would you believe this will be the seventh year we have been trekking across Europe for the Turkish Grand Prix? It doesn’t seem that long since we first discovered the wonders of Istanbul, the cliché of East meeting West and the tiresome Turkish traffic.
However, it seems there is now some doubt as to whether or not we will ever have an eighth Turkish GP, as its future is uncertain due, as always in Formula One, to money, or the lack of it. What a shame that would be, because the 5.33k kilometre layout is without a doubt the best of the modern Tilke-designed tracks, offering a fantastic challenge for drivers and engineers.
The new tyres have been a hot topic so far this season and generally, the Pirellis have performed better than the more pessimistic pundits predicted prior to the first race of the year. However, the Istanbul Park track and particularly the mega quadruple apex Turn 8 is going to provide the sternest test of tyres we have seen so far, which could impact on race strategy quite significantly.
There are other fast corners and then some slow ones in the final sector, so plenty to deal with and a reasonably long straight that will suit the DRS, Kers and any other acronym you care to think of. Lewis Hamilton was the winner here last year and after his victory in China, that seems like an eternity ago, the same question applies this weekend; namely, can anyone beat the Red Bulls. On current form, that looks unlikely in qualifying and for us, the Saturday session represents another chance to get into Q3 in the hope of getting some more points to add to those Buemi scored in Melbourne.
Three weeks without a race is a long time, but if flies by for the engineers and designers as they strive to improve their cars. It will be interesting to see which teams have introduced significant changes here and whether it will enough to shake up the current pecking order down pit lane.
The Turkish Grand Prix is something of a one off, given that it this year, it is considered as the first race of the European part of the Formula One season, although geographically, the Istanbul Park race track is located in Asia. It’s definitely not a “flyaway” because the weekend will mark the seasonal debut of the trucks, transporters and hospitality units, but actually most of the vehicles completed the final part of their journey by sea from Italy, to miss out what would be a very demanding road trip. So all in all, it’s an oddball, but with that great track layout and the season’s technical novelties still in their infancy, it promises to be a fascinating weekend of racing.
Source: Toro Rosso